Self-consistency for low self-esteem in dissonance processes: The role of self-standards

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35 Scopus citations


The self-consistency revision of cognitive dissonance theory predicts that people with low self-esteem are less likely to experience dissonance arousal compared to people with high self-esteem. Two experiments investigated how the accessibility of different self-standards in the context of a dissonant act activates the consistency role of self-esteem in the process of cognitive dissonance arousal. In Experiment 1, after participants wrote a counter-attitudinal essay, priming personal self-standards caused more attitude change for those with high compared to low self-esteem, whereas priming no standards or priming normative self-standards caused the same level of attitude change among both self-esteem groups. Experiment 2 showed that the self-consistency effect for low self-esteem participants only occurred among those who were high in self-certainty when personal self-standards were primed. The importance of self-standards for understanding the role of self-esteem in dissonance processes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-858
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Attitude change
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Self-consistency
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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